According to statistics, we think the NBN is optional

23 May 2014

iiNet yesterday released a report outlining some surprising findings gathered through an online survey of 1200 people. At the top of the list is that 67% of Adult Australians surveyed believed that connecting to the NBN would be optional and that keeping their current broadband connection would be in the cards.

Almost 40% did not realise that the NBN would replace their landline phone connection and 20% thought that NBN Co itself would be their internet provider once the switch over is complete. More alarming is the 29% that believed they would somehow be automatically switched to NBN services by NBN Co and not have to organise things themselves. This represents a fundamental breakdown of communications that must be fixed if Aussies aren't to be left without telecommunications within their households in the coming years.

Most astonishingly of all, 8% had not even heard of the NBN. That’s around 1.5 million adult Australians, if the statistic holds.

This isn’t great news, considering that today is the planned switch-off point for the twisted copper networks in 15 areas around Australia.

Currently, the only Aussies who have to worry about the switch-off are those who were connected under the Labor government’s Fibre to the Home (FttH) NBN, before it was altered under the Coalition.

Most Australians still won’t have to make the switch for much time to come, but it’s still best to have a vague idea of what will be expected of you, even if keeping up with the constantly-changing scheme is confusing at best.

Clearing things up

Just to make sure there are no crossed wires:

  • The NBN will be replacing Australia’s phone lines. This means that both your broadband connection and your home telephone will operate over the NBN.
  • Switching your plan over to the NBN is something you do yourself. It can only be done once NBN Co has installed everything on your premises, which is a free service that is being rolled out. The installation itself is not something that you need to chase up. Once the rollout reaches your area you’ll be notified and have to set a date for the installation. However, actually switching your broadband plan over to the NBN once the installation is complete is up to you.
  • Keeping your old broadband is only something you can do in the short-term. Eventually the old copper networks will be turned off in your area, at which point either you’re either on the NBN or you have no broadband and no home phone. Those are the only two options as things currently stand.
  • NBN Co is NOT an internet service provider (ISP). Telstra, Optus, iiNet and the rest of the familiar gang will still be the ones you go to for an NBN plan, just this time it’ll be over the NBN. Contact your provider for information regarding making the switch.

If you'd like more info about how the NBN will affect you visit this page on the NBN website

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